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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  August 6, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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they meet again on a tarmac in arizona. it's tuesday, august 6th, and this is "now." president obama is en route to arizona right now but we first want to update you on some developing news. former president george w. bush is recovering at a dallas hospital from a heart procedure he underwent this morning after doctors discovered a blocked artery during his annual physical. the operation successfully placed a stent in the artery to open the blockage. the former president says he is in high spirits and will return to his normal schedule on thursday. we'll continue to monitor the story as it develops. turning now to president obama's policy push, he is just
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a few hours from touching down in phoenix where he'll highlight positive gains made in the state's housing market. the southwest stopover is part of the president's recent campaign to shift focus back to the nation's economy but sunny weather and signs of a recovery are not all that awaits him in the canyon of of the unknown. president obama will once again be greeted on the tarmac by arizona governor and self-proclaimed scorpion eater jan brewer, the same jan brewer who last year greeted the president with a now-infamous finger wag. in addition to her predilection of insects in the early hour, she's a prime example of the state level obstacles the president faces as he tries to implement his second term agenda. just last week brewer sent out a fund-raising e-mail asking the obama administration what they are hiding about illegal immigration, an e-mail featuring jan brewer's finger. as president obama and attorney
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general eric holder battle a slew of voter suppression efforts across the country, arizona republicans have simultaneously filed suit to redraw the state's legislative districts to make them "less competitive." but if brewer has erected her share of hurdles, the firebrand governor ultimately needs the president more than she is perhaps willing to admit. in june arizona became 1 of 2 dozen states to expand medicaid coverage to its neediest residents as part of the affordable care act. it is a move that's expected to give over 50,000 arizonans access to insurance and create over 20,000 jobs and save the state over $1.2 billion. the governor was so firmly in favor of the expansion that, according to the "new york times," she threatened to veto any bill brought before her until the expansion was voted on and held a last-minute legislative special session to force the vote. but whether or not the governor takes a moment today to acknowledge the soundness of obama care, probably depends
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less on the scorpions in her breakfast bowl than the ones in her state house. joining me today, editorial director of "the huffington post" media group and an msnbc political analyst, howard fineman. congressional reporter at talking points memo, simon kapur. and jonathan capehart. howard, i feel as if i revealed my thesis for this discussion which is basically, something that politico wrote about a few weeks ago which is the importance and the difficulty of having these sort of red state governors in place with their agendas as president obama is trying to move forward with his big legislative priorities for the second term. >> this goes under the category of no good deed goes unpunished. because i think the president was reasonably in these pieces of legislation and in these policies trying to acknowledge the roll of the states and trying to counter the notion that of course the take party
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people propagate at every instant that he's some kind of dictator throwing thunder bolts out of the sky in washington. he's not. this is a federal system and that means the states are involved. and that's as it should be. and i think more power to him -- or more kudos to had him for wanting to do it that way. some states are participating in the health care markets. some are not. the feds will do it if the states don't. on immigration, there's a role for the states and i think it is going to be an ecpabded role for the states in any kind of reform. on health care, the interesting thing to me is that the business -- a lot of the business community wants obama care to go through. by business community, i mean hospitals, insurers, health care networks, they want more customers. so they went to this republican red state governor and said, you know what? this is pro business. be for it. and she was. >> i think to howard's point, the notion that no good deed goes unpunished. jan brewer is expanding the
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medical roles which i think is a very good move. there's very little that i think jan brewer does that's good. this is a good thing. low-income arizonans will have access to health care. it will be interesting sort of as an experiment as the aca has rolled out in states where, for example, wisconsin and minnesota. one state is opting in, one state is not really opting in. and for residents of those states to see what's happening just a few miles over, either with people being denied health care or people getting it. >> that's right. i think it is going to be a fascinating dynamic this time because the president and jan brewer may be archrivals on immigration but they're best buddies on medicaid. >> there are be no finger wagging on medicaid. >> she's probably give had him a hug -- >> maybe not a hug. that's wildly optimistic. >> on medicaid though, the deal is really, really good and it is hard for governors to pass it up and she recognizes. that's why she was such a warrior for this in her state, did things that no other governor has done, especially no other republican governor has done. folks like rick scott and rick
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snyder in florida and michigan have not gone to these lengths to do it despite the pressure they are facing. >> we've now given jan brewer her kudos, janelle, but there are all sorts of other things jan brewer is shepherding in the state of arizona. i think the voter suppression piece is really interesting. >> certainly. >> we talk about the efforts and that the attorney general are making to, if not unwind, then to stop the voter suppression efforts happening literally all over the country. the fact that the arizona state legislature is trying to make districts less competitive by putting minorities all in one quadrant and everybody else in another. it's amazing to me that there is no bashfulness in what is clearly a bastardization of the democratic process. >> i think bashfulness, we're well beyond that point. we're well beyond that point. people are interested in finding crafty ways to affect the same ends, which is ultimately to limit the voting power of growing minority populations. in states like arizona, arizona
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was one of the states where there were some real expectations that there might be some real turnover in 2012. there were hundreds of thousands of new minority voters registered to vote in 2012 so these things are not coincidental. >> jonathan, i want to talk -- i would be remiss in this segmentfy did not talk about the finger wag. it is amazing to me, a, that, okay, there was no apology but i suppose bashfulness and apologies are no longer par for the course in our partisan world. but the idea that jan brewer can fundraise off of that and this has become almost like a rallying cry for people who don't like the president and the sort of -- we talk a lot about the respect that should be given the commander in chief, the highest office in our land. they're going to meet on the tarmac apparently again today. i don't think we'll see the finger wag but it was almost i think sort of like a line in the sand. this is how a state governor is treating the president of the
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united states. >> it was incredibly disrespectful. incredibly disrespectful but it played to jan brewer's base. it played to the tea party base that hates the president so much that they don't even have respect for the office, it seems, anymore, they hate him so much. her wagging her finger, it is not only wagging her finger at the president but a lot of people saw it as her wagging her finger at this president who's also black who should not be there. and there's that strain there and i'm going to get in trouble, and i don't care, because -- you just showed the picture there. the idea that someone could do that to the president is just so off-putting. but, hey, she could raise money off it, she'll raise tons of money off it. there are still people out there who hate the president and, look. more power to her. the president is one of these people who can compartmentalize. >> i don't know that i say more power to -- >> not more power but she's going to do what she is going to do.
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the president will arrive in arizona, meet him on the tarmac. as we were just talking here, she's his best friend on obama care and he'll be focused -- >> maybe he should be doing the finger wagging and say, hey, hey, how about that aca, huh? >> i would like to see that. >> aside from the fact we're now living in a world of signs and symbols where finger wags and so forth get tweeted out as pictures all over the world and tell volumes which is interesting. i mean the president's answer to the finger wag was, i think that he got elected by a pretty healthy margin after the finger wag. he could do a different kind of finger wag if he wanted to. >> around the world and back snap? >> i'm not going to say what that looks like but you know what that -- digital expression. >> i want your opinion -- we're also neglecting to discuss -- the president is in arizona because this is part of his grand sort of economic -- we're
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turning the national conversation back to the economy and specifically the housing market which has rebounded in arizona at higher levels than it has in the rest of the country but there is still a question over whether low-income, poor arizonans, whether the housing market has sort of included them in its recovery and rebound. >> right. to view this from the bigger picture to step back and see what this is really about, what democrats have been talking about their message, what it should be throughout this august recess and that's we're living in an era right now and the story of this generation is going to be stagnating wages, income inequality and the decline of the american dream and democrats desperately and badly want to be on the right side of this and want to show that they have the right policies to recover from this even though they're being blocked in congress. with regard to the housing policies he's going to talk about, it is a mix of things he's already proposed and some new ideas. most of them, the really important things and major things he has to get through congress and that's going to be difficult. things like letting homeowners refinance their mortgages and shifting some of the burden to
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lenders. some of the things he can do on his own administratively like cracking down on wrongful foreclosures. >> i really think it is important to focus on the issue of income inequality. i really think we should be talking about housing recovery, talking about minimum wage, think these are all really important issues. that said, howard, the aca is rolling out in like t-minus however many days, 50, 60. my math is terrible. you can do the math. >> i can't actually. >> part of me is wondering, you know, is there a sort of sly nod to the fact that jan brewer has expanded medicaid. account president bring that up and should he be more sort of on message with regard to that rollout and sort of making that his message for the next 50 days rather than this other one? or is it all part and parcel of a larger, broader theme? >> i think he's going to, in effect, say, you know what? this is complicated. this is a big country.
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it is a complex place. we got to move as fast as we can, wherever we can. what fascinates me about what he's going to say out there today is that he wants to dismantle both fannie mae and freddie mac which were supposed to be government funded ways to help not poor people but help struggling middle class people get government supported mortgages. he's saying, you know what? that ended up being a situation where it was government bailout for rich people and we don't want it anymore. you know? let the free market determine both the risks and the rewards of mortgage lending, which is actually, in a way, a kind of conservative -- >> conservative, yes. >> -- position. but it is coming from the head of -- you know what? we, as taxpayers, had to spend tens of billions of dollars on you guys. we're not doing that anymore. so it is a complex time, both
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geographically and ideologically and i think the president -- one of the good qualities that barack obama has is patience. he plays a deep game and he plays a long game. >> yeah, he does. >> and he has certainly had quite a bit of patience up until this point. we will see what the president has to say in just a few hours. watch the president's speech in arizona right here on msnbc. martin bashir will pick up live coverage today at 4:00 p.m. eastern. when we come back after the break, amazon founder jeff bezos adds "the washington post" to his shopping cart. how many online shopping jokes will there be today? a lot. but what happens to his purchase after checkout? there's another one. we'll discuss the end of an era and the future of journalism, two tiny little themes, next on "now." told ya. t-mobile's got the samsung galaxy s iii. whew - that is cool. it's only 30 bucks a month with unlimited web and text. even you can afford that one little buddy. who you calling little? get the latest galaxy smartphones with t-mobile's $30 unlimited plan.
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forward thinking digital news organization from 2020 and beyond. at least that's what the paper is hoping. the paper famous for breaking the watergate scandal and publishing the. papers sold for $250 million, just 1% of bezos' personal net worth and decidedly less than the $315 million that aol paid for "the huffington post" in 2011. given "the post's" new stewardship, it sparked a lot of internet shopping jokes. "based on your previous purchases, jeff bezos, you might also like the "los angeles times," the orlando sentinel, "newsweek." "the "washington post's" ezra klein offered, "i've bought a lot of stuff from jeff bezos' companies so this was really only fair." on the whole, the paper's own appeared optimistic. >> we need to be shaken up. i think he will do that. i know him a little bit.
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he's just an original and so this isn't rupert murdoch buying the "wall street journal." this is somebody who believes in the values that the "post" that is been prominent in practicing and so i don't see any downside. >> in a statement released after the purchase was announced, the "post's" owner don graham said in this case the buyer mattered. graham praised bezos' business genius, long-term approach and personal decency. and so "fortune's" 2012 businessman of the year, the man dubbed the ultimate disrupter will now try his hand at shaking up the newspaper industry. joining us now from arlington, virginia, is another disrupter, editor in chief of politico, john harris. john, thanks for joining us. so john, you had one of the first sort of analyses of this situation. i will ask you. you raise a lot of important questions about sort of what bezos is sort of long game is in all this. let me ask you though. as a newspaper man, as a news man, do you think this thing is
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a good idea? >> i think it's both sad and exciting. the sadness is backward looking. i think over the decades there's been no more illustrious newspaper family in the united states. or really almost on the global stage than the graham family. they've been conchent shhent re owners. i do believe we are in an era of disruption. the only question is can you be effective in a forward looking way and it really, really matters. not just what the "washington post" does but all of us who are in this business of trying to innovate in the media landscape. the work that we do is important and it is important that we succeed. >> john, let me ask you something. bezos in an interview with a german paper last year said there's one thing i'm certain
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about, there won't be printed newspapers in 20 years. maybe as luxury items in some hotels who want to offer them as an extravagant service. politico started as an online publication and you guys now have a print xhoen nent. what was the thinking in that and do you agree with the statement that printed paper won't be around in 20 years? >> it might be true. we've never really been focused on the plat forform. we do have a printed edition but mightily right up on capitol hill. a vast majority of our aud audience is online, either at a computer terminal or tablet. a bulk of people are putting their personal content on a personal device, blackberry or phone. events are a phone. in. hearn journalism using the convening power. i really don't approach my job and neither do people on the business side of politico fundamentally about the platform. we think of can we somehow
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monetize that mission -- that work at a premium. only two ways, either charge a lot for advertising or charge a lot for subscriptions. >> john raises a really interesting point and said from the distinct vantage point from someone who's figured it out with his own publication. it is not about the platform, it is about the content. you work for "the washington post." what are your feelings whand was it like yesterday when you found out who your new owner was? >> well, yesterday just before going on martin bashir's show around 4:20, 4:25 i see an e-mail from katherine graham saying please come to the auditorium at 4:30 at a big announcement. there was another e-mail that gave call-in instructions. that's never a good sign. never is. so it wasn't until i was finished with martin and i was waiting downstairs under the big nbc marquee looking on my phone at e-mails and i see the e-mail
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from katherine graham that we were sold to bezos and i screamed -- what? it was so earth shattering, so unexpected, so unnerving because the graham family is such a part of the paper. i remember when i first interviewed at "the washington post" and walked through with my editor fred hyatt and at another point with don graham. to walk through the newsroom with don graham is to be would youed, is to be mesmerized. he knows the names of everybody in that newsroom from the reporters to the staff that help keep the place clean. so what gave me a bit of comfort was this idea of knowing that if don graham who so respects journalism and journalists and reveres the importance of the "washington post," if he's selling it to jeff bezos as an individual, then jeff bezos must share don graham's -- the graham family's values. so that gives me some comfort.
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>> don graham's statement it sounds like they share the values. if we talk about trepidation, howard, there's certainly the cultural sort of moment that this is in terms of the "post" being sold to an online retail giant. i think for those of us that don't work at the post and maybe for americans just across the country, there is a question about the reporting. right? if you look at "the washington post" storied history, talking about the pentagon papers, the water gate scandal, more recently their top secret america piece -- series, the walter reed medical hospital series that won him the pulitzer. there's the question of like is there going to be an investment -- and is there an investment in had this digital age in terms of that kind of reporting, that kind of granularity, that kind of fact finding and that commitment to stories that may not get a lot of click-throughs at the beginning or ever but matter in terms of information and awareness. >> well, i think the answer is both yes and i hope so, and it has to be. a couple things.
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a lot of this is due -- a lot of the kinds of journalism that you are talking about is due to the commitment of the families and the people who own these institutions. as john said, the grahams. i was lucky to have worked for the grahams because "newsweek" where i worked for many years is owned by "the washington post" company. i had a lot of of company with him. the grahams were an inspiration. before that i worked in louisville for the bingham family that owned "the courier journal" that were in the state of kentucky legendary for their commitment to the state. we have to have a whole new generation of those people. we have to have. robert albrighten who owns politico i think has every prospect of being that kind of person. i think arianna huffington who owns the website that i work for also does and i would say we won a pulitzer last year because she was willing to let dave wood, a
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terrific reporter -- >> who i used to work with at politics daily. >> -- spend a year working on the travail of wounded warriors, of veterans. we won a pulitzer against print competition for that essentially. so there's got to be a lot more of that. it's never easy. and i think when an institution is strong enough, it will -- can and will and must have that kind of commitment. that's what i worry about. i don't worry about it so much at a national level or a global level. because for example, t"the huffington post", we are expanding globally faster than we can count. we have almost as much traffic overseas as we do in the united states. what i worry about is investigative journalism at the local and state level. like "the courier journal" which used to be state wide in kentucky that i worked for struck terror into the hearts of the bureaucrats in frankfurt. who was doing that -- >> the times picayune. john, in terms of small but significant reporting, is that still valued? i will note that the "boston
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globe," not a small paper and not necessarily granular reporting, "the "globe"" sold for $5 less than the five-year contract of red sox pitcher john lackey. that gives you a sense of the devaluation of 245 newspapthat which has been breathtaking over the past couple of decades. john? >> oh, i'm sorry. is that for me? >> it was sinking in. >> no. i think these things are -- that's what happens when you have what with a for decades a very, very robust business model. that's why "the new york times" played a billion plus for it 0 years ago. that's why some people thought the $70 million was itself was someone inflated. people think the $250 million for the "washington post" was somewhat inflated. i don't happen to believe that. just the value of the "washington post" brand itself and the potential that resides in that brand because of its history and because of its
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repertoirial power that still exists in the newsroom is still very valuable. if you look at it strictly as an accounting proposition, you could see these properties, these legacy properties are worth very, very little. it's a stunning development. >> but the problem is, the problem is that -- i do believe that nationally and where the glare of the spotlight is on globally that bezos will have a commitment to investigative reporting at "the washington post." believe me, he does, or bob woodward wouldn't have said what he said. that's number one. >> go ahead, john. >> well, i think there's two questions about jeff bezos. one, what is his idea and, two, what are his intentions? by idea i mean, what's his strategy? the grahams are smart and conscientious people. they said, look, we don't know how to make a viable business out of this long term. does bezos have some kind of strategic insight and two, is he prepared to subsidize this in a big way for a long time? or does this have to make money? >> that's totally apt. i would also say is this a bid
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at buying more political influence in the city you're standing in -- or well nearby, john, which is to say washington. this puts bezos very much in the big league in terms of being a kingmaker in washington. >> yes, it does. though i'd be surprised if that's really his intention. days of kind citizen cane publishers are a thing of the past. >> indeed. politico's john harris, thank you, as always. last night florida executed its fifth prisoner since december. we will discuss the constitutional and compassionate arguments against capital punishment just ahead. mine was earned in djibouti, africa. 2004.
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to be the right hand of god. doctors repeatedly said ferguson, "does not know right from wrong." and in psychiatric oval weighings over the yeaweighin - evaluations he was described as a disturbed person with retarded intellectual ability and floor ridley psychotic. his execution had twice been stayed but in may the florida supreme court rejected his lawyer's appeal for a stay ruling that ferguson was mentally competent. in its ruling the court concluded that most people would characterize ferguson's prince of god belief in the vernacular as crazy. does not mean someone who holds that belief is not competent to be execute. before his death by lethal injection, ferguson spoke his last words. "i just want everyone to know that i am the prince of god and i will rise again. that's all." in 1986 supreme court justice author good marshall found that executing the insane is "savage and inhumane."
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less than two hours before ferguson was put to death yesterday, the u.s. supreme court denied a final request for a stay of his execution. what happened here goes beyond the man, andrew cohen writes in "the atlantic." it goes to a system where the language of the law says one thing and the implementation of the law says another. it goes to a constitutional regime where we all pat one another on the back for our common decency. we don't execute the mentally retarded, we don't execute the insane while executing the mane tally retarded and intsane. the smugness of that is breathtaking. thank you so much for joining us and on a very important topic that goes wildly underdiscussed in the american news media. talk a little bit about the execution of the mentally insane. the eighth amendment which seems to have been torn asundayer in th a case like ferguson's, it seems that we are doing precisely
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that. executing someone who really does not know what's going on. >> that's right. let me first start by saying amnesty campaigns to abolish the death penalty in every state in this country and around the world and we do that because to take someone's life to sanction the killing of an individual is the ultimate denial of human rights. it's cruel, it's inhumane, it's brutal. in the case of john ferguson, this is a man whose life was taken last night by the state of florida despite the fact that government doctors, prison doctors diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia. at the age of 17 john ferguson started to have visual hallucinations. repeatedly after the age of 23 when he was first diagnosed, he was diagnosed and confirmed to have paranoid schizophrenia, mental illness. so what does that say about the ways in which the state of florida carries out executions, as well as the other states throughout the country carries out executions. >> in june, i believe, governor
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rick scott of florida signed a bill into law, the timely justice act, which is aimed at speeding up the death penalty process. it's worth discussing the case of warren lee hill who's sort of another ferguson-like figure insofar as his mental sort of acute has been questioned. he's awaiting execution and you say in large part that's because there's sort of discrepancy and debate over the lethal injection and that's basically what's keeping him alive. can you just sort of explain the dynamics of that case? >> sure. what has prevented the state of georgia from taking warren hill's life is a lethal injection secrecy act. this is about transparency around the drugs used to commit executions, as well as where they're obtained. that's why warren hill is still alive today. the fact that warren hill has been proven to be mentally disabled and based on 2002 u.s. supreme court ruling, it is unconstitutional to execute the mentally disabled. so again, we're seeing problems in georgia, in florida, in 32
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other states throughout this nation that continues to execute people. just so i can go in terms of the timely justice act really quickly, in florida, as the world -- the gloesbal movement r abolition is moving towards executing less and abolishing the death penalty. states like florida are going backwards. >> yeah. literally taking us back into the stone ages, janell. incidentally, florida ranks 49th in the country in terms of mental health funding, prioritizing the issues in and around mental health is not something that governor rick scott seems to be doing. but if we're talking about the death penalty. right? since 1973, 142 prisoners have been freed from death row after being exonerated. there is one exoneration for every three people executed in florida. given those statistics, the taking of someone's life by mistake, you would think we would be putting an end to what is a barbaric practice. >> it is a really interesting
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development in florida in the sense that it's been said, we have an interesting sort of development in this country, 18 states as of this year have outlawed the death penalty. we have another state that closely considered it and the colorado governor's put a moratorium on the death penalty. even the state of texas, which i think most people know, executes the most people, there have been significant reductions in the number of people being sentenced to death, who are actually being executed. i think on average it was about 40 people a year until the last decade. last year they executed nine people in the state of texas. every single state that has the death penalty at this point offers juries the option of giving people life in prison for whatever reason, florida has decided that they want to not only maintain the death penalty but speed up the process by which it is to be carried out. >> if you look at even the cost of executing people, i think it is, on average, $3 million for a single case just from setting
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aside the conservative paradigm of having the government as little involved as possible and the ramifications of having the state able to take a citizen's life. beyond that, just fiscally it doesn't make sense to have a death penalty. >> absolutely. there is a great argument for that. i think what you're seeing in states like florida is an effort to sort of test the limits of the supreme court, the constitutional standard they set on mental competency. you are seeing them sort of push the energy and lower the bar that allows them to sort of move forward with the death penalty and the supreme court has not definitively ruled that as far as i know on what specifically constitutes mental competency. this man executed in florida last night, john ferguson, is clearly mentally ill in a severe way. talking delusions and hallucinations to the point he thinks he's the prince of god. what the state of florida said simply is that he knows he committed murder and he's being put to death so therefore web's mentally competent. that's a hell of a standard. >> when you have moments like this or troy davis last year.
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i do think it is the shame of the nation that we do this. and i am in no way saying that these men did not commit heinous crimes and should serve time and need to face punishment but we are taking people under the cloud of uncertainty where there is still a case to be made for if not their nens finnocence bu mitigating factors in the crimes. afghanistan, congo, iran, iraq, north korea, pakistan and yemen. the fact basically all of latin and south america and europe have outlawed this, you have to wonder what is it in our culture that's not only continuing to pursue this but in some cases like in florida, pursuing it more aggressively. >> boy. i wish i could give a definitive answer to that. but as somebody who's been a reporter in america for my whole life and traveled everywhere and spent a lot of time in states from coast to coast, there is a part of our country deep in our
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country that believes in the idea of vengeance. and i can't. put it any better than that. it's woven into our culture, as guns are woven into our culture. that heritage of frontier, eye for an eye still is out there and it's a cultural touchstone for a lot of people in a lot of states. not all of them southern states, by the way. can you go to any place in america and there are people who believe this is not only just, but required. and the real failure here is the supreme court. the supreme court, as you pointed out, has not spoken clearly. you need a 9-0 clear decision that no state will dare ignore. and the confusion of the supreme court cases is what's allowed the confusion. if the country can't move forward, had this was true in brown versus board of education. if the country can't move forward on its own, there are
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times when the supreme court has the moral obligation to do so and that's what we've got here. >> i think if there is a sort of upshot here it is that there are states, i think marmd wyland wae most recent state to ban the death penalty. i'd like your assessment of those efforts and how successful they may be in the long tell. >> you are absolutely right by using the word successful. we see victories like maryland's victory but there is a movement growing in this country, along with the movement around the world. and they're led by a number of different people, but mostly young people who are at the forefront and they're saying to their leaders and people around the world that enough is enough, executing people is not just, it's a violation of our fundamental human rights, and we no longer want to live in a nation that takes someone's life. and so this is something that inspires me every single day i
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do this work, is the people on the front line who are building the movement and it is growing bigger and bigger every single minute, every single second. is there keep up that movement. thanks for your time. after the break, the u.s. flag's serious security concerns for citizens and government personnel in yemen as word comes of a new drone strike targeting militants in the country. we'll get a live report from the region next. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health
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today the u.s. orders all citizens out of the country. overnight came word of another u.s. drone strike, the fourth in
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yemen in the past ten days. one that killed four al qaeda militants. the latest strike comes as 19 u.s. embassies and consulates around the middle east and africa are shuttered and set to remain closed through the end of the week. joining us from cairo, nbc news's foreign correspondent, ammyman muhyeldin. we are getting word the yemeni government is objecting to the u.s. evacuation, saying it undermines the cooperation between yemen and the international alliance against terrorism. what is that all about? >> reporter: well, it seems that the yemeni government has taken issue with the fact that the united states has withdrawn some of its personnel from the u.s. embassy there feeling that it is perhaps suggesting to yemeni authorities or security measures were not adequate to at least protection the u.s. facilities. they're taking offense, saying their facility is up to it and while it appreciates the efforts of foreign governments to
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protect their citizens, it does somewhat appear that the yemeni government is not capable of protecting foreign interests if the united states felt that it was compelled to move its citizens outside of the country. so it seemed like the yemeni government feels that this decision by the u.s. to withdraw some personnel was perhaps perceived as a slight and that's why they issued that statement. >> there's been a lot of debate here about whether or not we should be closing these embassies, how long they should stay closed. i think the other piece of this is in terms of how aggressively the u.s. government is responding. there have been four drone strikes in the past ten days in yemen. two seem that there is an interlinkage between the security situation there and al qaeda leadership and the moves that the u.s. is taking there in terms of counterterrorism and national security strategy. >> reporter: yeah, no doubt the u.s. maintains a very strong security posture across the region but this was a very specific threat. it intercepted communication that led them to take these measures. i believe within the u.s. framework of how it operates here, the perceived threat of
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what they were able to decipher in the last couple of days that led to this security closures of these embassies and the continued drone strikes which are very controversial in their own right are two separate issues at this time. but there is no doubt that they bleed into one another over the course of u.s. foreign policy in this part of the world. >> a developing situation. nbc news foreign correspondent ayman muhyeldin, thank you, as always, my friend, for your thoughts. and thank you to our panel here in new york. howard, janell, sahill and jonathan. i'll see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern. until then, find us at facebook.com/nowwithalex. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. - [ barks ] are crispy, oven-baked dog snacks with soft savory centers, made with beef and cheese. beneful baked delights: a unique collection of four snacks... to help spark play in your day. ♪ honey, we need to talk. we do?
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congressman peter king on "morning joe." >> this one was so precise as to the nature of the attack, there were some dates that were given in there and the sources were so credible that to me there is no doubt -- >> all the threats overseas, no domestic -- >> no, no. no, i would not say that, no. it could be anywhere in the world. this as nbc confirms four al qaeda militants but not their leaders were killed in an american drone strike in yemen overnight. the peace brokers in egypt. senators john mccain and lindsey graham say they have not given up on brokering a solution to the standoff. >> if egypt fails and becomes a failed state, that is my worst nightmare. this is the heart and soul of the arab world. there are many in my country who believe democracy is not possible in the mideast. i disagree

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